The correct way to spray paint on nickel plated metal

Written by ryan lawrence
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The correct way to spray paint on nickel plated metal
Identify professional painter's tape by its blue colour. (blue painters tape image by Jim Mills from

Before you paint nickel-plated metal, you must prepare the surface for paint adhesion. Nickel plating is a durable, nonporous surface. This makes it a poor candidate for painted finishes. Before the nickel plating will accept paint, it requires pre-treatment with a special acidic primer, formulated with the ability to etch durable metallic surfaces. Once you've properly conditioned the nickel-plated metal, it can be painted. Apply a durable enamel to avoid flaking. Apply the enamel in the correct manner so you won't be disappointed in the final finish.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Water-based degreaser
  • Coarse sponge
  • Rags
  • Towels
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheets
  • Galvanised metal-etching spray primer
  • Spray enamel

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  1. 1

    Clean the nickel-plated metal with a water-based degreaser, using a coarse sponge. Rinse the degreaser off with wet rags and dry the metal with towels.

  2. 2

    Protect portions of the metal you do not want painted by covering them with painter's tape. Protect flooring with dust sheets.

  3. 3

    Coat the nickel plating with a galvanised metal-etching spray primer. Spray in a side-to-side, sweeping motion. Maintain an 8-inch distance between the nickel plating and the spray nozzle at all times. Wait four hours for the metal to dry.

  4. 4

    Coat the primed nickel plating with spray enamel. Spray in a side-to-side, sweeping motion, keeping the spray nozzle at least 8 inches from the nickel plating. Wait four hours for the enamel to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not prime over unwashed nickel-plated metal, or you may have problems with adhesion.
  • Do not paint directly over unprimed nickel-plated metal, or the finish will peel.
  • Do not use ordinary latex, acrylic or oil primers on nickel plating, or the finish will flake.

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